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Daily Current Affairs – 13th March 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 13th March 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Bureaucrats cannot be State Election Commissioners: SC

Context:

The Supreme Court has held that independent persons and not bureaucrats should be appointed State Election Commissioners.

Details:

  • The SC directed that the States should appoint independent persons as Election Commissioners all along the length and breadth of the country, stating that the independence of Election Commissions cannot be compromised.
  • It stated that giving government employees the additional charge of State Election Commissioners is a mockery of the Constitution.
  • Asserting that its directions be followed strictly, it called for the government employees holding the post of State Election Commissioners as an additional charge to give up the post.

State Election Commission:

  • The State Election Commission (SEC) is vested with the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and the Municipalities.
  • The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.
  • However, the State Election Commissioners can only be removed by impeachment.
  • State governments should abide by orders of the SECs during the conduct of the panchayat and municipal elections, just like they follow the instructions of the Election Commission (EC) during Assembly and Parliament polls.
  • In other words, the SECs enjoy the same status as the EC.

Rajasthan Information Commission penalises five officials for negligence

Context:

The Rajasthan State Information Commission has imposed fines on government officials showing negligence in providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

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Details:

  • The Commission has laid emphasis on the display of information by the departments and local bodies on their own.
  • The weekly review of work by the Chief Information Commissioner and penalisation orders have made an impact, ensuring compliance with the RTI Act.

State Information Commission:

  • The State Information Commission (SIC) is a quasi-judicial body.
  • Right to Information Act provides provisions for the creation of State Information Commission.

ECONOMY

‘Centre to infuse Rs 14,500 cr. into banks under PCA soon’

Context:

The Finance Ministry is likely to decide on the infusion of Rs 14,500 crore mainly in banks that are under the RBI’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework, to improve their financial health.

Details:

  • For the current financial year, the government had allocated Rs 20,000 crore for capital infusion into PSBs to help them meet their regulatory requirements.
  • The capital infusion will help these banks to come out of the RBI’s enhanced regulatory supervision.
  • Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India and UCO Bank are currently under the PCA framework.
  • PCA framework places several curbs, including on lending and management compensation.

Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework:

  • Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) is a framework in which banks with weak financial records are placed under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The Prompt Corrective Action framework deems banks as risky if they slip some trigger points – capital to risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR), net NPA, Return on Assets (RoA) and Tier 1 Leverage ratio.

Note:

Most large state-owned lenders like State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India and Indian Bank have already raised money from market sources, including share sale on a private placement basis.


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Quad leaders for ‘open, free’ Indo-Pacific

Context:

  • Quad’s (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) first-ever leadership summit.
  • The virtual summit was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Joe Biden of the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Key highlights of the Summit:

  • Addressing the virtual summit, the QUAD leaders highlighted cooperation among the member countries to beat the global pandemic, with a joint partnership on vaccines.
  • During the discussion, there was a wholesome appreciation of the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
    • The Quad members agreed to ensure equitable access to vaccines. The U.S., Japan and Australia will finance the vaccine initiative.
  • The need for an open and free Indo-Pacific region was emphasised.
  • It was highlighted that the Indo-Pacific region should be governed in accordance with human rights.
  • The vaccine expert working group, a critical and emerging technology working group, and a climate working group for technology, capacity building and climate finance were cleared during the summit.

Note:

  • In the backdrop of Quad’s leadership summit, China has said cooperation between nations should not target or damage the interests of a third party and countries should not pursue exclusive blocs.
  • The meet is being closely followed in China which has broadly framed it as a U.S.-led effort aimed at containing China.

Russia for Taliban’s inclusion in Afghan interim govt.

Context:

Russia has said that it backs the Taliban’s integration into a future interim government in Afghanistan.

Details:

  • The Foreign Ministry’s comments come as global powers have ramped up efforts to secure a peace deal and end decades of war.

Afghan Peace Talks:

  • The US has encouraged the Afghan leadership to work towards establishing an inclusive government and proposed talks with the Taliban to secure a peace accord.
    • U.S. President Joe Biden is reviewing whether to stick to a deal with the Taliban negotiated by his predecessor Donald Trump, who wanted to pull out the U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 2021.

Concerns:

  • The U.S. withdrawal is being complicated by a new surge in fighting and concern that a speedy exit may only unleash further chaos.
  • The US fears that the security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains if the U.S. suddenly withdrew.

Stop influx from Myanmar: Centre

Context:

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to the Chief Secretaries of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh to take appropriate action as per law to check illegal influx from Myanmar into India.

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Background:

  • India and Myanmar share a 1,643-km border and people on either side have familial ties.
  • People including policemen and women from Myanmar have fled to Mizoram fearing a military crackdown.

Details:

  • The MHA directive comes as the military coup and subsequent crackdown in Myanmar has led to several persons crossing over into India.
  • MHA said that the State governments had no powers to grant refugee status to any foreigner.
  • It also reiterated that India is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.
  • MHA has also issued an advisory to Chief Secretaries of Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and also to the Border Guarding Force (BGF) along the India-Myanmar border to stay alert and take appropriate action to prevent a possible influx into Indian territory.
  • Guidelines have been sent to states to sensitize the law enforcement and intelligence agencies for taking appropriate prompt steps for identifying illegal migrants, their restrictions to specific locations as per provisions of law, capturing their biographic and biometric particulars, cancellation of fake Indian documents and legal proceedings including initiation of deportation proceedings as per provisions of law.

MISCELLANEOUS

Bring down benzene emission at fuel outlets, says panel

What’s in News?

A joint committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to study air pollution in Kerala has recommended the installation of vapour recovery system at fuelling stations and retrofitting of diesel vehicles with particulate filters to improve air quality.

  • The report pointed out that petrol refuelling stations were a major source of benzene emissions, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter 2.5 concentrations.
  • Therefore, it suggested that the installation of vapour recovery system is an important step in improving air quality.

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